It’s Time to Put the Internet Back Into a Box in the Basement

Very cogent argument for regaining the skill of living in the real physical world.

Born Outside the Box

Source:  Raptitude

by David Cain
February 2018

My first online interaction, circa 1992, fascinated but also terrified me. I should have taken it as a warning.

At the time, computers were just machines you had in your basement. They had programs in them, and you would sit in a chair and use those programs for a while, then go do something else. The whole time you used this machine you remained, both physically and psychologically, in your own house.

Nobody had the internet yet really, but there were Bulletin Board Systems. Your computer could phone another computer, presumably in someone else’s basement, and access a virtual space for posting messages, designed by that computer’s owner. No images, just bare text. Only one person could visit at a time, because it occupied the owner’s phone line.

One time I was using a BBS, believing I was alone in my basement, when…

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7 thoughts on “It’s Time to Put the Internet Back Into a Box in the Basement

  1. I agree. The cheap little smartphone that I have is lying on the floor of one of my closets in pieces. I get up off my ass and leave the internet at home and engage with the real world as opposed to the ‘virtual’ one. I admit that I enjoy my time, mostly, when I am online, but I have a cut-off period. Many do not because the internet is on at all times wherever they go. That is most unhealthy and this article agrees with me in that many people who were born at the height of the internet will have a boatload of mental diagnoses before too long simply because they were not born in a time before the internet came to be and are therefore, hooked. I can quite honestly say that I am glad that I knew of a time before the internet and I am thankful for that AND how!

    • Shelby, I, too, am really grateful for the years of experience I had with real life relationships before the Internet came along. I am also grateful for the vast access of information offered by the Internet – it saves me from running to the library to look things up. When I was growing up, you used to be able to call Ready Reference at the Milwaukee Public Library and the librarian would look up stuff for you and ring you back. I also really like all the skills you can learn – I learned to ferment veggies and dig swales from watching YouTube. That being said, I don’t think I’m willing to pay for these privileges with the loss of community life.

  2. Lara, I think the best way to teach kids is to model the behavior you want them to follow. Maybe we need to invite them along to some real life activities and they’ll see how great they are.

    • Not me. 2 degrees is shutting down their 2G network at the end of the March and they’ve asked me to upgrade. Vodafone says they’re not going to shut down 2G – that you can bring your old phone and they’ll sell you a new sim card and you can keep your old phone number.

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